Posts Tagged “Michigan asparagus shipments”
By the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Dewitt, MI — Michigan asparagus shippers completed their season in the final days of June, completing a season that lasted 6 to7 weeks.
USDA is currently reporting that this year’s fresh market production reached an all-time high of 14 million pounds. On the flip side, the market for processed asparagus reached an all-time low this year, at just 7 million pounds.
With ideal weather conditions and superb quality, the major setback for Michigan Asparagus again took the form of imported asparagus flooding the market during Michigan’s growing season. Imports were coming from Peru and Mexico.
Rainy conditions this spring created ideal growing conditions, helping roots soak up plenty of rainwater and produce the juicy spears that Michigan is known for. Cooler temperatures allowed producers to stay on top of harvesting the quickly growing crop. “When the weather gets hot, the asparagus just shoots up.” Explains John Bakker, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, “Under the right conditions, we’ll see up to 10 inches of growth in a single day. Those are the days that require us to go through a field two or three times to harvest. If a grower gets behind, they’ll have to mow the field and lose that part of the harvest – that’s why the mild temperatures we had this season are so important.”
This year’s ideal conditions created steady, predictable growth and superb quality asparagus. Spears harvested throughout the state displayed excellent tip quality, delicious fresh flavor, and desirable thickness.
Michigan asparagus shipments have been underway for a month and should continue through the end of June from the west-central area of the state.
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board in Dewitt, MI notes loadings have been lagging because cool weather limited picks of asparagus fields to about 11-12 harvest sessions through late May, compared to normal tallies of 15-16.
Last year processed asparagus accounted for about 60 percent of the volume, although there is less processing demand this year. That is expected to result in more fresh shipments. One estimate has fresh shipments accounting for about 75 percent of the volume with product for processing making up the balance.
The USDA census report notes Michigan’s asparagus acreage was 12,285 acres in 2017, up from 9,405 acres in 2012 and 12,127 acres in 2007. Acreage has gone down compared with 1997, when 18,266 acres of asparagus were harvested in the state. About 9,500 acres were planted this year.
Michigan’s primary competition comes from Mexico and Peru during the May to June shipping window, although imports haven’t been big this year. Last season, May volume accounted for 33 percent of total fresh shipments and June accounted for about 67 percent of total annual volume.
Michigan’s fresh shipments of 385,000 28-pound equivalent crates in 2018 compared with 421,000 crates in 2017 and 417,000 crates in 2016.
In 2018, Michigan accounted for about 32 percent of total domestic asparagus shipments, trailing Washington (49 percent), but well ahead of California (19 percent).
However, both Mexico and Peru have big year-round volume coming to the U.S., and last year May to June U.S. imports from those two countries were seven times bigger than Michigan’s shipments in those two months.
Michigan asparagus shipments are just getting underway as Applewood Fresh Growers LLC of Sparta, MI launches its season.
The company’s grower-supplier, New Era’s American Asparagus, New Era, MI., uses a hydrocooler after harvest, and places the spears in a cooler before they are packed in a refrigerated packing room, according to a news release from Applewood Fresh.
The Michigan asparagus season lasts approximately from May 10th to June 25th.
New Era’s American Asparagus grows more than 300 acres of asparagus, and manages another 600-plus acres, according to the company’s website, for a total grower base of 1,600 acres of Michigan asparagus.
“We keep this process as short as possible to increase our customer’s shelf life and quality of the product,” Caleb Coulter, owner of New Era’s American Asparagus, said in the news release.
“We are excited to partner with New Era’s American Asparagus to bring our customers the best asparagus Michigan has to offer,” Nick Mascari, Applewood Fresh president said. “This partnership is the next iteration in our strategic plan to diversify.”
by Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Dewitt, MI — Although limited in acreage, growers in the Southern region of Michigan asparagus shipments started the week of May 7th. However, most of the state’s growers located West Central Michigan, in the heart of the asparagus growing area, didn’t get underway until the week of May 14th. Shipments will continue until early July.
This year, due to unseasonably cool spring temperatures and late season snowfall, growers across the state are experiencing one of the latest asparagus season starts in memory.
John Bakker, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board reassures, “We may have a delayed start but most grower shippers are on schedule to harvest and deliver similar volume to last season.” Bakker commented, “The biggest difference will be that the build up of volume will not happen slowly, over a couple weeks, but come on quickly between the week of May 14th until it reaches promotable volumes beginning the week of May 21st and continuing throughout the season.”
With quality and volume expected to be high this year, the 120 family farmers that produce the majority of Michigan’s asparagus are anticipating a great season.
Leveraging online influencers to reach consumers where they are has had proven success, and the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board is promoting online engagement by offering giveaways during the season. Consumers can enter to win weekly nationwide flash giveaways for $50, blogger event giveaways for $100, or the board’s season-long giveaway of over $2000 in cash prizes including a $1000 grand prize. Each giveaway encourages consumers to connect and engage with the board’s ever-growing online community through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
About the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB) promotes the production and consumption of Michigan Asparagus nationwide. The organization is dedicated to sharing the virtues of asparagus, while also assisting with agricultural research and the development of asparagus farming. The MAAB is funded by Michigan Asparagus growers.
Michigan is shipping in light volume potatoes, as well as apples – grossing about $1100 to Chicago.
Asparagus loadings out of Michigan have started. Meanwhile, here’s an update on how many potatoes remain to be shipped for the 2017-18 shipping season.
Michigan asparagus shipments are just getting underway and will continue into late June with good volumes coming in time for the Memorial weekend, May 26 – 28.
One of the larger Michigan asparagus companies that grows, packs and ships is Todd Greiner Farms Packing LLC of Hart, MI. The company recently completed a 20,000-square-foot addition to its packinghouse, which is the second expansion in the last year. This includes two new controlled atmosphere/cold storage rooms and two new shipping and receiving docks. Greiner Farms also ships other vegetables and watermelons.
Vidalia Onion Shipments
Vidalia certified sweet onions are grown in 20 southeastern Georgia counties by 80 farmers and available in the spring and summer months. However, the majority of the onions are located in only two counties. In 2017, Georgia shippers had almost 230 million pounds of Vidalia onions. Similar volume is seen this season, and shipments got underway April 20th.
U.S. Potato Shipments
U.S. potatoes remaining in storages to be shipped as of April 1st were up 2 percent from year-ago. The USDA reports the 13 major potato shipping states held 134 million cwt. of potatoes in storage. Potatoes in storage accounted for 33 percent of the fall storage states’ 2017 production, 1 percent more than last year.
Idaho potatoes remaining to be shipped totaled 50 million cwt. off 4 pecent from 52 million cwt. from last year. As a percent of production, Idaho potato stocks represented 38 percent of the state’s 2017 production, up 1 percent from a year ago.
In Washington, the state with the second-highest amount of potatoes remaining in storage, the USDA reported 30 million cwt. of potatoes. That was up 3.4 percent from 29 million cwt. the same time a year ago. Washington’s stocks accounted for 30 percent of 2017 potato shipments, up from 27 percent in 2016.
Idaho potatoes from Twin Falls area to New York City – grossing about $5300.
Washington potatoes from the Columbia Basin – grossing about $4500 to Chicago.
Heavy California strawberry shipments should continue for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Michigan asparagus was clobbered by a hard freeze, but good volume is returning soon.
While fresh strawberry shipments from Oxnard are over with only berries for processing being picked, fresh loadings have moved northward to Santa Maria and Watsonville. A significant increase in volume took place last week and will the trend will continue. Watsonville will experience its heaviest strawberry shipments the last week of May through the first week of June. Santa Maria strawberry shipments are currently peaking.
Additionally, raspberry loadings are now coming out of Watsonville and are expected to have significant volume increases during the next weeks, which will continue through Summer and into the Fall.
Grower report that the four year drought in California resulted in a build up of salt in the soil, but this season’s heavy rains leeched most of that salt out of the ground. This is making for prime growing conditions, and crop quality.
California strawberry shipments have been heavy since right after Easter with good loading opportunities expected for upcoming holidays in the weeks ahead from the Northern districts.
Santa Maria strawberriy and vegetable shipments – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.
Salinas Valley strawberry and vegetable shipments – grossing about $6600 to New York City.
Michigan Asparagus Shipments
Asparagus is one of the most unusual produce crops I am familiar with. I was once visiting an asparagus farm in California and the owner told me that under excellent conditions the vegetable grew so fast at night you could literally hear it growing. It can grow as much as four to six inches a day!
I was reminded of this with the May 8th hard freeze in Michigan that severely hit the asparagus crop (see photo). Despite temperatures plunging to 23 degrees F. for two to three hours, resulting in a loss of an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the total crop, the season is far from lost. Decent volume will be returning this week, with peak volume shipments out of Michigan coming next week.
Typically, the heaviest asparagus shipments occur early in the season. That won’t happen in Michigan this year. Even though all the asparagus that was above ground froze, it will quickly rebound.
Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $2700 to Atlanta.
Produce shipments will be starting soon involving Michigan asparagus, Vidalia onions, and grapes from Mexico.
Michigan asparagus shipments will get underway within the next week or so. While the Great Lakes State’s asparagus has traditionally been more of a local crop, Chicago has historically been a big market. Now, loadings are destined to markets in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and even to Georgia. Another change is the crop used to go mainly to processors, but now keeps shifting more to fresh. For the first time last year Michigan shipped 12 million pounds of “grass” for fresh markets, compared to 10 million pounds for processing. This year fresh shipments are projected to increase by another five to 10 percent.
Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $3000 to Dallas.
Vidalia Onion Shipments
Concerning more produce shipments, while the Georgia Department of Agriculture has set April 25th as the official date Vidalia onions can be packed and shipped, in truth, every year the sweet onion is shipped prior to this date. The catch is it cannot be legally shipped under the Vidalia name prior to the official starting date. Shipping prior to official date increases the chances of the onions being “hot” and doesn’t help the image of the brand. Much of that is because early onion pungency levels are too high, making them taste hot instead of sweet.
Vidalia onions can only be grown in parts of a 20-county area in the southeastern part of Georgia. Last season, farmers harvested 268 million pounds of Vidalia onions from 11,200 acres. Value of production for last year’s crop exceeded $120 million.
Southern Georgia produce shipments – greens, carrots – grossing about $2200 to New York City.
Mexican Grape Shipments
As most Mexican vegetables crossing the U.S. border at Nogales wind down this time of year, an exception is grapes. The harvest in Mexico begins the first week of May. Mexican grape shipments soon follow, with volume increasing as Memorial Day approaches. Peak Mexican grape shipments will occur during June, then quickly wind down in early July. Estimates are sketchy right now, but early indications are that a good, but not record crop will be available for hauling.
Mexican melons, mangoes, veggies through Nogales – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.